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Poster: LAJ Date: Feb 26, 2006 11:55am
Forum: netlabels Subject: What is that NOISE? [Random thoughts - Noise Color, Natural Selection, & Memes]

I usually listen to netlabel music privately - especially the more experimental and nosier varieties. I’ve found that the average person just doesn’t understand or appreciate the music of noise, and when someone hears me listening to it and says, “What is that noise?”, I’m always a little self-conscious, because I just don’t have a satisfactory answer.

This lack of an adequate answer to the question - “What’s that noise?”- led to me to do some reading and to make some random observations about noise music and music in general.

I don’t know why I listen to noise music (or to any music for that matter), but I do know that there have been cultures without writing, counting, and painting, but no known culture has been without music.

I know that noise comes in various colors - white, pink, brown, and black. White noise is independent and random while brown and black noise are predictable in the sense that each moment is dependent on the previous moment. Some studies of the spectral properties of music suggest that pink noise [flicker noise or 1/f noise] is the most aesthetically appealing to humans while white and brown noise are less interesting. Both traditional western music (classical, rock, some jazz) and non-western music show a similarity to the properties of pink noise while much electronic music does not. For example, randomly generated computer music (stochastic music) is closer to white noise while some of Karl Stockhausen’s electronic compositions lean towards the spectrum of brown noise. Myself, I listen to lots more electronic music than anything traditional. Why? Because I can.

I know that if the algorithmic process of natural selection is true, then this desire to create, listen, and share music should give us a biological advantage promoting our chances for survival. One possibility is that a predisposition for music promotes group unity which delivers a survival advantage, or, as Steven Pinker suggests, is music just “auditory cheese”[How the Mind Works (Norton, 1997)]? I personally don’t think so since carrying around too much excess baggage would seem to be a disadvantage to survival.

Finally, I know that the basic unit of cultural evolution is the “meme”- complex ideas that reproduce by jumping from brain to brain. A meme is not a metaphor for the gene as a basic unit of genetic evolution - it’s a real process. In it’s most abstract sense, evolution occurs when there is variation, a means to create copies, and disparity in fitness. Each of the tracks included here is a meme for the complex idea of noise music. There’s variation - not one track is exactly like the other, there’s a means of replication - via downloading mp3 files and sharing, and there’s disparity in fitness - the number of copies of each track that is created will vary depending on the environment.

PLAYLIST [M3U attachment follows]:

1. Ryan Gregory + Christine Jeanine - Rain [Homophoni]

2. Mika Björklund - Gunkanjima [Webbed Hand] || Skeletal Structures

3. Asher - Three Untitled Pieces [EARLabs] || Track 02 (for f)

4. Ubeboet - Bleak EP [Test Tube] || Nocturno

5. John Kannenberg - Untitled (as yet) [EARLabs]|| For Spalding Grey

6. Danny Kreutzfeldt - Noiseworks 1 [Mirakelmusik] || Knuste Stromme /Shattered Currents

7. Karl Boesmann || For 200 Violins (excerpt)

8 - 10. Herr Axelsson - Rainy Night [Nishi] || Voice + Rain II + Broken Sea (the sum of rain)

11. Jonas Lindgren - The Heavenly Reed Plains || Some Broken Static + Piezo Galore

12. 833-45 - Xi Phosphe [EARLabs] || Red Monal

13. K.M. Krebs - The Light Will Fill the Darkness and Obliterate It [Webbed Hand] || The Thousand Dark Veils

14. Martin Dot - Metro [Rain] || Impression Six

15. Micah Silver - Utopian Artifacts [Stasisfield] || Scale

16. V/A - A Baker's Dozen [Part 1] || MVK - Transductions[adz001]-05-mvk_-_transductions_lowq.mp3

17. Elian - We are all visitors here [Test Tube] || Words That Can Not Be Erased

18. David Fungi - Organic Shade Vol. 1 [Sinewaves] || La valle Dell'incontro

19. Critikal (Kiritchenko-Lindgren-Surak) - STATE [Zerommon] || Track 04 (untitled)

20. Ernesto Rodriguez - Prisma [Stasisfield] || C

21. Kotra - Stamina [Nishi] || Pluck

22. V/A - A Baker's Dozen [Part 1] || Tomas Korber - The Things I’d Like to Tell Her She’ll Never Know[adz002]-02-tomas_korber_-_the_things_i'd_like_to_tell_her_the_things_she'll_never_know_lowq.mp3

23. AO - Endlessly, Sweetly and Slightly [Test Tube] || Thyme

24. Lukas Scholler - At Land [Mahorka] || Bekinski Remoted

25. Zed - Collecting Dust EP [Nishi] || 14-02-2002

26. David Kirby - Coronary [Homophoni]

27. Daniel Maze - Wounded Animals [Sinewaves]

28. Sevensy - Music for Blank Film [Mahorka]

29. Feverdreams - Surrounding [Comfort Stand] || Part 1

30. Ryu - The Depressed [Dark Winter] || The Depressed

31. Demogorgon - I Used To Live... Here [Subsource]

32. Mystified - Mutes cape [Treetrunk]

33. Brian Lavelle - Mare Nostrum

This post was modified by LAJ on 2006-02-26 19:55:58


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Poster: conv Date: Feb 27, 2006 11:35am
Forum: netlabels Subject: Re: What is that NOISE? [Random thoughts - Noise Color, Natural Selection, & Memes]

another great collection, Larry!.
more complex ideas of noise music, more variations and meanings of replication can be found on Desetxea, a netlabel curated by the hyperactive london based feedbacker Mattin:

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Poster: mystified Date: Feb 27, 2006 1:23am
Forum: netlabels Subject: Re: What is that NOISE? [Random thoughts - Noise Color, Natural Selection, & Memes]

A very interesting collection! Thanks for including mystified. Great, Larry!